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Beach School

Neighborhood School and
Dual Immersion (Spanish/English) School

1710 N Humboldt StPortland, OR 97217Ph 503-916-6236Fx 503-916-2315

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Beach School

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Principal's Message

  • Carta de la directora

     

    June 7, 2019

    Dear Families,

     

    As we approach the last days of the 2018-19 school year, I want to thank you for your partnership in and contributions to our school community this year! It’s been a year filled with growing or deepening relationships, and so much effort, learning and joy. Thank you so much for your most important and deeply valued contribution-- entrusting us with each and every child. Teachers are hard at work assessing children’s growth, supporting regular learning routines and simultaneously leading culminating projects from bridge construction to play production to habitat gallery walks. And children are impressing us with their incredible capabilities and unique charms, as always!

     

    We were thrilled this year with the turnout for and positive response to our “Beach Connects”  event in January! Our goal was to create a casual and low stress opportunity to strengthen relationships between staff and families to further our goal that all feel comfortable and have a sense of ownership within our school community. We plan to host Beach Connects! again next January, in addition to our “Welcome Back!” event  August 26 and another “Beach Connects” in Spring.. The idea emerged as our staff Equity Team identified a problem of practice: a lack of community and solidarity experienced by some of our students and families. We are identifying root causes of this problem with the goal that our school community fosters solidarity and shared experiences for all Beach students and families.

     

    Another action we piloted this year, and will take school-wide next year in order to address this problem, improve learning school-wide, and deepen student relationships across Spanish Immersion and English Instruction classrooms, is “mixed specials”.  With mixed specials, students from all three classes in a grade level are carefully organized (by staff) into three “mixed” groups. (Picture each class divided into three groups a, b, c then all a’s brought together, etc.)  As Ms. Bryant put it one day, every one of “our students are all of ours”. Mixed specials are a way that all students in a grade level are that whole team’s students. Our pilot was the (brilliant) idea of our specialists in PE, library and art, in collaboration with our teachers, and began in 4th grade this year, then expanded to 5th grade in late winter. Here are some elements that have led to the successes we’ve observed and will now take school-wide:

     

    • Specialists, who know all students across the school, take the lead in creating our mixed specials groups
    • Specialists help with supporting community building activities in classrooms during specials times (with mixed groups) the first week of school
    • Teachers work with their homeroom class to build understanding of “the why” and to introduce the routines that will be followed to bring groups together and to transition to and from art, library or PE. Then students work together with teachers, in classrooms, in their mixed groups.  Teachers are present and supporting students the first few times students attend their specials class and as necessary.

     

    We’ve observed so many wonderful outcomes in 4th and 5th grades this year! We’ve seen students across programs who weren’t previously interacting, sitting together eating lunch. We know of some new friendships including out of school get-togethers amongst students who previously didn’t know each other’s name, even after being in the same grade level at school together for five years. Whole grade level teams and specialists are working together to problem-solve and improve unexpected or unsafe behavior.  

     

    As a staff we are excited about and looking forward to this opportunity to deepen student, and simultaneously parent, and staff, relationships across our whole school community next year!  As always, please let me know if you have questions or comments, and thank you again so very much for your partnership. We are so glad your child is a Beach student, and that you are a Beach parent or family!

     

    Warmly,

    Lisa

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